The dust has now settled following Age of Empires 4's launch and developers World's Edge and Relic Entertainment have already shared the real-time strategy game's 2021-2022 roadmap, detailing the changes and updates that players can expect in the near future, including mod support, ranked seasons, and more.
Age of Empires 4's first roadmap was revealed shortly after its first post-launch patch went live, introducing a smaller slate of fixes targeting Xbox Account linking, as well as an issue with the Mongol Town Center that can no longer be built right next to an opponent’s Town Center. Its first 2022 iteration followed in March.
Age of Empires IV Winter 2021 Update
First on the Age of Empires IV 2021-2022 roadmap was the Winter 2021 update, which came with "hundreds of balance changes," while also allowing players to enable in-game player score "on a case-by-case basis," in both custom lobby multiplayer and skirmish matches.
The update also moved the Chinese Dynasty button to the lower left-hand corner of the screen, while letting players view the map after a match has completed.
Age of Empires IV's Winter 2021 Update also brought some additional refinements to the minimap, like reducing the size of icons, ensuring the Wonder icon matches the one on the HUD, and adjusting the color of certain resources.
As far as balance goes, the French Hulk became less of a threat, while the Chinese Repeater crossbow unit had its cost significantly reduced.
Age of Empires 4 Season One Update
Release Date: April 7, 2022
Age of Empires IV's 2022 roadmap was updated in March, with more insight into how the developers were approaching things and details as to what we can expect.
Firstly, updates will no longer be named after the four temperate seasons – to better serve the game's global community – and will be tied to its ranked seasonal ladder refreshes.
Seasons will last for "approximately three months," the new seasonal ladder kicking off at least one week after its accompanying update, giving players time to get used to its balance changes.
Seasons will be themed and "contain something for everyone," which includes new stuff for the competitive experience, quality of life improvements, new content, bug fixes, and more.
Monthly patches will introduce additional balance changes and bug fixes in between the bigger content drops.
As for the Season One update, it marks a big step on the Age of Empires IV's 2022 roadmap, introducing the following:
- Age of Empires IV Content Editor (Beta) and mods: The editor allows users to create their own content for AoE IV and will be accompanied by "in-house mods and tutorials to get you all started."
- 1v1 Ranked Ladder
- Hotkey improvements: Additional categories, rebinding hotkeys to mouse buttons 3, 4, and 5, binding other commands to the Alt and Shift keys, alongside new global hotkeys that help you find idle villagers, cycle through structures, and more.
- Quality of Life improvements: Global build queue, the Patrol move, a civ randomizer selection within the lobby, as well as full post-match map reveal.
- MegaRandom, new Art of War challenge, difficulty tuning
- Balance changes for the Abbasid Dynasty, Chinese, and Holy Roman Empire civilizations
You can read more about the Season One update in the article linked above and head to its official website for the full patch notes.
Age of Empires 4 Season Two Update
Release Date: July 11, 2022
The content of Age of Empires IV's Season Two update includes several additions that improve the real-time strategy game in different ways.
The new map preference system lets you influence which maps you'll play in both Quick Match and Ranked multiplayer.
Rebindable hotkeys have also been added and, should you assign one key to two different actions, you'll get an alert rather than having the first keybind removed.
You can also zoom the camera out further, giving you a better vantage point of both existing maps and AoE IV's newest addition, The Pit.
The player color picker is also now available in the following modes: single-player skirmish, multiplayer custom match, unranked automatch, and ranked automatch.
Naturally, the update also brings with it a new ranked season.
You can check out the full patch notes over on the game's website for all the changes, including details about how sieges have been reworked.
Age of Empires 4 Season Three Update
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Age of Empires 4's Season Three update celebrates the real-time strategy game's first anniversary with a serving of new content, including two new playable civilizations: the Ottomans and Malians.
The former have a military focus, while the latter cater to an economy-driven playstyle. Needless to say, they both come with their own Art of War challenges, Masteries and Achievements.
Ranked Season Three also kicks off, introducing the new Team Ranked mode and new rewards. Eight new maps – Forest Ponds, Hideout, Mountain Clearing, Wetlands, Prairie, Waterholes, Mediterranean, and Oasis – have also been added
Age of Empires IV's 2022 roadmap looks quite good so far and it'll be interesting to see where the game heads next.
For more on AoE IV, give our review a read to see what we thought about the game at launch.
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